Some thoughts on returning to university (for a third time)..


After finishing high school I was offered two choices for tertiary study; primary teaching or social welfare. Whilst I wasn’t quite sure what social welfare was I was very sure I didn’t want to return to school after already spending the past 13 years there! And so, social welfare it was. It took some time to adjust to tertiary study; writing my first real essay, referencing, research, the cost of texts, (the dread of exams I already excelled at). All throughout my course I silently pondered each subject; not really seeing the relationship between why I had to learn about politics for example if I was going to counsel people about their problems; and it wasn’t until my last year that I actually got a real taste of what social welfare really was until my first placement. It was here in the field that everything fit together; and I realised why I was taught politics; sociology and psychology and all the other “ology’s”.

Upon completion of my degree I worked within the field, and for some time felt that I was “making a difference” and good at my chosen career. However after 6 years my passion began to wan and my empathy for other people’s problems diminished until I became a cold, uncaring, “I’ve heard it all before” type of person. Feeling that I was not benefiting myself or my clients I left the field and returned to study my real passion, English.

Although I had been a somewhat avid reader (albeit ‘junk’ material rather than scholarly works) for most of my childhood, it was a particular teacher in my senior years of high school who first passed on the love of literature. His recital of T.S Eliot’s ‘The love song of J. Alfred Prufrock’ was inspiring to say the least and one I will I remember until this day. In hope to become a published author I enrolled into a BA arts degree majoring in English and thoroughly enjoyed every minute of my studies. The course forced me to read material I wouldn’t otherwise have read which were outside my chosen genre of interest and introduced me to the works of great writer’s such as Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins. I loved studying poetry, (especially my favourite poets Eliot, Coleridge and Frost) and found doing so like solving a puzzle or decoding some secret message as each stanza was broken down and mere beautiful words and phrases gained meaning and insight.

While studying, my writing developed both in literacy skill and influence and I filled notebook after notebook with poems, character development and plot ideas. The beginnings of stories and novels were begun and then discarded as I deemed them unworthy, but regardless my passion was strong. I learnt about the process involved in getting work published (or at least attempting to); and vowed that on completion of my studies I would dedicate my time to finishing work for publication. However, as it often does; life got in the way. And so after two children, and many, many attempts, I have yet to even finish a piece of work let alone submit one to a publisher. Initially this caused me much disappointment and frustration within myself (and towards myself) for my lack of commitment and felt that as it stood my degree was a waste of time and money. I have now come to the realisation that this is not true. Although I may not become the published writer I always dreamed of being, my love for English has been strengthened and my understanding of the subject deepened and for that my course was not a waste at all.

This year I begun a BA of Secondary Teaching and am once again excited and inspired by my studies. Although I am only into my first week I am already imagining teaching a class and the reward of hopefully passing on my love of the written word to young minds as was once passed on to me. Let us go then, you and I…



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